By Vanessa Desorcy, Marketing Manager
We have an amazing team of people working in our head office at Churchill Wild year-round and another team that run our ecolodges from July through November! (If you would like to work with them at one of our remote ecolodges this season, you can see current employment opportunities here.)
Unfortunately, it’s not often that we’re all in the same place at the same time. We speak on the phone or via email during the season, and our paths may only cross briefly at the end-of-season holiday party. After that, our lodge staff and managers head off to different remote locations, or to beaches in much warmer places, and that’s it until the next year.
For one week in January though, we all get together to plan for the coming season. It’s four days of brainstorming and strategizing interspersed with catching up over good food — and wine. Always wine.
This year when we were together, we got to talking about what we’re looking forward to in 2020. Read on to find out what we’ll be up to over the next 12 months…
Our intrepid leaders, Mike and Jeanne have five grandchildren now — their youngest was born just after Christmas — and Jeanne is looking forward to spending time in southern Manitoba with her growing family as she works on plans for a new house! Mike, ever the explorer, will be dreaming up new adventures and Arctic expeditions in between play sessions with their three grandsons and two granddaughters.
Toni, our CEO (and Jeanne’s sister!), will be splitting her time between overseeing things at our office, and growing her new wellness business, Soulaia. Toni’s always been a proponent of work-life balance and taking care of oneself, so her foray into all things wellness is a perfect fit. Also an avid traveller, Toni already has a few trips lined up for 2020: a bicycle trip in Switzerland, a wine tour in Ontario, and a visit to one of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World (one that isn’t ours).
Jeanne and Toni’s sister, Shari, our Director of Logistics and HR, is looking forward to joining Toni on the wine tour in Ontario, as well as on the upcoming annual family ski trip in Kimberley, B.C. Like Jeanne, Shari is excited to watch her grandkids grow and for a new polar bear season. Just five more months until we start all over again!
Our Director of Ops (not black ops, just regular ones), Nolan, and his wife, Doreen, our Sales Manager, have taken up scuba diving within the last couple of years. With a few dives already under their belts this year, and more coming up next month in Hawaii, this dynamic duo is excited to discover new worlds underwater — and to celebrate their 25th anniversary in 2020. Once Nolan comes up for air, he’ll be tackling plans for a few projects at the ecolodges, such as improvements to our ultra-remote Tundra Camp. 2019 was a particularly challenging year in terms of weather delays and logistical challenges, so Doreen is hoping for a smoother season filled with more wonderful guests.
Seal River Heritage Lodge managers Ben and Nicole are currently skiing the slopes in Alberta, something they anticipate every year. An Australian native, Ben is crossing his fingers that this is the year he gets his permanent residence visa (we’re crossing ours too!) so that he can be with us for many more seasons, working with an amazing team of lodge staff. Nicole is eager to get back up to the lodge, learn more about the wildlife and vegetation and master northern lights photography!
Bella, our manager over at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge, has something extra special to celebrate this year — she’s getting married! Before she comes back to us this August, she plans to spend time with her fiancé and her adorable dog. Once at the lodge, she’s excited to explore, meet guests, and work alongside her team.
Our Sales Assistant, Courtney, like a true Manitoban, is looking forward to SUMMER. Sun, outdoor concerts, festivals, and warmer weather. She’s also got a few trips on the horizon to fuel her wanderlust. First up, a trip to Portland, Oregon, followed a couple months later by a work trip to Quebec City. Très bien!
Our Admin Specialist, Sue, is looking forward to 2021 when she celebrates her 50th birthday with a special trip. (Does she look even close to 50?! No way.) She’ll be scheming and dreaming about that trip throughout the year along with celebrating her youngest daughter’s high school graduation. Big year in the Brown household!
George, our Digital Marketing Strategist for the past 11 years (That’s like 44 years in normal people terms), will try to extricate himself from the wired content octopus we’ve created long enough to seriously explore Lake Manitoba and hopefully spend some time fishing at North Knife Lake Lodge this summer.
As for me, I’m with Courtney — I can’t wait for summer in Winnipeg. Hanging out at the outdoor Common at The Forks, and hiking on the many trails in our province. I’ve just returned from another awesome International Media Marketplace in New York City, where I met with 25 travel writers and I’m looking forward to a similar event in Victoria B.C. in September.
We can’t wait for another season of adventuring and meeting new guests. And our polar bears? They look forward to meeting you this season too!
The World’s Next Great Safari